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Thunder day

By Cpl. Sbastien Pisani
First published in
SFOR Informer#109, March 21, 2001

Glamoc - A warning shot resounded March 9 above the range indicating the grand finale of Strong Guardian II exercise. About 300 onlookers sat on wooden benches on top of a hill for the combined arms live-fire demonstration conducted by the MND-SW. Cameras in hand, they examined the slightest movements of the Canadian infantry section at the bottom of the hill. Among the most watchful guests, many Armed Forces in BiH officers, from VF and VRS, surrounded Canadian Maj. Gen. Rick Hillier, MND-SW commander.
The first Strong Guardian exercise took place at the end of March 2000. British, Czech and Canadian troops took on an enemy force played by Dutch soldiers. For this second edition, enemies were static targets put in different points of the valley and on surrounding heights. The four nations of the MND usedtheir artillery, anti-tank weapons, tanks and armoured personnel carrier weapons to jointly improve their efficiency on the field.
Posted in their trenches, Canadian infantrymen used their C7 rifles, which is a Canadian variant of the American M16, and their light machine-guns C6 (7.62 mm) and C9 (5.56 mm). The rounds hit the bull's eye and knocked down the targets placed several hundred metres away, proving their efficiency in most offensive and defensive fire support tasks.
Suddenly armoured vehicles burst into the valley. Canadian Coyotes advanced next to Czech BVP2 and British AS 90. The detonation sound rent the air, while hills in front of the gathering were shrouded by smoke. Smoke grenades showered down. They formed an impenetrable shield behind which armoured vehicles fell back in order, leaving the field before being spotted by an enemy battery.
Meanwhile, the guided missile weapon system TOW2 equipping M113 was working wonders. The TOW 2 is designed primarily to provide long-range anti-tank fire. This weapon system is also effective against fortified bunkers and gun emplacements for a maximal distance of 3.750 meters.
Exclamations came from the spectator rows when a Cougar helicopter came past roaring, carrying a piece of artillery in its winch. Later a tactical transport helicopter Griffin laid down infantrymen in support. At last, two American Apaches took their places on each side of the onlookers for a demonstration of their machine gun's maneuverability.
"I thank all those taking part in the exercise. With their exemplary co-operation on the field, they showed once again our ability to work together and conduct our main mission, which is to maintain the peace. The demonstration is an excellent opportunity to provide professional interchange between the Armed Forces in BiH and SFOR, particularly in the safe conduct of live-fire exercises and the use and co-ordination of combined arms assets," said Maj. Gen. Rick Hillier.
A static display of some military equipment used by SFOR allowed spectators to approach these "war beasts." While bystanders were squeezing up against the armoured vehicles, the thunder of explosions still floated over Glamoc plain.

Related link:
Nations of SFOR: Canada
Training and Exercises